Forest Service Use of Sustainable Standards in Building Design and

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					Forest                            Washington                            1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Service                           Office                                Washington, DC 20250

 File Code:   7110                                              Date:   March 31, 2011
 Route To:

   Subject:   Forest Service Use of Sustainable Standards in Building Design and Construction
       To:    Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, Deputy Chiefs
              and WO Directors

The Forest Service is committed to encouraging sustainable building construction and
performance throughout the Nation. My goal is to facilitate sustainable Forest Service
buildings that incorporate sustainable wood products. To this end, clarification is needed on
Agency policy that wood sourced from domestic sources, including National Forest System
land, is the preferred green building material for Forest Service buildings and facilities.
In pursuit of this, it is important to begin by reaffirming that the Forest Service will continue to
fully support Executive Order (E.O.) 13514—Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy,
and Economic Performance. This E.O. indicates that it is the policy of the United States that
Federal agencies shall increase energy efficiency; measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse
gas emissions from direct and indirect activities; conserve and protect water resources through
efficiency, reuse, and stormwater management; eliminate waste, recycle, and prevent pollution;
leverage Agency acquisitions to foster markets for sustainable technologies and
environmentally preferable materials, products, and services; and design, construct, maintain,
and operate high performance sustainable buildings in sustainable locations. In execution of
this E.O., the Agency has a number of green building certification schemes to choose from
including the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(LEED) rating system, Green Globes, and others. The Agency already has an impressive track
record with 11 LEED certified buildings on the books in 10 states. A complete listing is
Through life-cycle analysis, Forest Service research has documented the environmental benefits
from using wood products. For example, research studies have shown that fossil fuel
consumption, potential contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, and quantities of solid waste
tend to be less for manufacturing and use of wood than for consumption products. As such, in
continuing and strengthening our commitment to green building, I am asking that the Forest
Service commit to preferentially use wood while maintaining our commitment to third party
certification in green building construction. And further, I strongly encourage all Forest Service
construction projects to be designed and constructed with domestically harvested wood
products, ideally locally sourced and from National Forest System lands, where ever practicable
and feasible. Wood sourced from Forest Service lands should be considered sustainable thanks
to the safeguards provided by Federal statute under the National Forest Management Act, the
National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and others. It is
important to recognize that we should be using wood sourced from National Forest System
lands where we can.

                      America’s Working Forests – Caring Every Day in Every Way        Printed on Recycled Paper
Regional Foresters, Station Directors, Area Director, IITF Director, Deputy                2
Chiefs and WO Directors

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture updates their policy and direction related to green
building, the Forest Service will work in conjunction with USDA to continue our commitment
to the LEED and other green building systems’ design, while emphasizing the use of wood as a
green building material. It is important that we improve recognition of the life-cycle
contributions presented by a sustainable wood building and forest products industry. Our goal
is to increase our ability to support the use of sustainably grown, domestically produced wood
products, including wood from the national forests.

/s/ Thomas L. Tidwell


cc: Kurt Gernerd
Lou Leibbrand
Jim Reaves

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